tv Panel Discussion on Reconstructing the Historical Narrative CSPAN April 13, 2014 3:15pm-4:51pm EDT
our moderator as well. thank you all. i learned so much today. i am encouraged to follow a positive path to health and well being. thank you so much. please give another hand for the panel and moderator. we just learned so much. [applause] we are going to be taking a break, but before you leave i want you to know that not only can we thank them with our applause, but you're going to have an opportunity to purchase their books in the hallway, i think their books, other items as well. some of those items are even videotapes and tapes of not only this session, but previous sessions that you really want to take advantage of. i believe they are autographing their books, am i correct? ah. so, please, make sure you come back in time. try to stay the whole day. we want to see you learn and grow and all of us grow together. thank you again, saving
ourselves, saving our communities. i feel good. [laughter] i knew that i would. [laughter] thank you again. be back by 2:00. oh, is someone -- [inaudible conversations] >> oh, okay. thank you. please, stay for your pictures. see you at two. knox. [inaudible conversations] >> next, from the national black writers conference at medgar evers college in brooklyn, a panel on changing historical narrative. [inaudible conversations]
>> ladies and gentlemen, welcome back. we're here -- enter well, i'm really glad to be here, in person, right here in front of you. you know, we in this panel we don't grown -- groan and bemoan the destructive narratives about us misrepresenting who we are and how we are with. this panel will help us to reconstruct, to tell our own stories, the real deal. our stories, this is our story, this is our song, let the work i've done speak to me. and so to moderate this panel on reconstructing the historical narrative of us is professor woodard who was given, i don't know if he'll tell you this, but his name was given him by mayor
baracka, if i'm correct. he is the professor of history, public policy and africana studies at sarah lawrence college, a graduate of the university of pennsylvania, served on the board of directors of the urban history association, edited the unity of the struggle, newspapers children express and as well as black art new movement finish you can read the rest of this. he's just too much. please welcome the moderator or today, professor woodard. >> thank you. [applause] it's good to see all you out here today. i'm from sarah lawrence college these days, but originally i was from a school called e mittty braca, that was an institution in itself. today we're going to have a
conversation about constructing the his to have l call narrative, and our panelists are jeffrey allen, ms. mathis and leonard pitts. without further ado, we're going to start it off. you know, i wanted to start it out with not too long ago, a kenyan novelist wrote something torn anew, and he was talking about this issue of remembering. and, you know, so history and remembering. and the fact that colonialism and slavery to blitz rate -- obliterate the memory of the oppressed people. and so much of literature and writing is about putting that body back together, remembering or reconstituting the body. and maybe we'll launch into that discussion. but i'm tempted to ask you first as you're addressing that question to say something about something you've written on this
theme, and maybe we could start at the end and come this way. >> well, thank you. so to answer that question, i have a novel that's coming out in a couple months which is called song of the sheikh, and it's loosely based on a real person, his name was thomas green wiggins, he was born is slave in georgia in 1849, and he became this famous pianist and musician. he was the first african-american to play at the white house, and i believe that was around 1857. essentially, he was a celebrity in his own time from the 1850s until the 1880s. and so i, you know, i had never heard of him. i sort of sum bled upon his -- stumbled upon his story. i was reading a book by the writer oliver saks who in this
one particular chapter he talks about blind tom as an example of an autistic she haven't. and if -- she haven't. and in any case, i was surprised to discover there had been this really well known african-american pianist and composer and also just some of the phenomenal aspects of, you know, things about his music that were very surprising. but essentially, he's been written out of history in part because he's carried this label of the autistic savant, and musicologists, you know, believe that for that reason he was not truly creative. on the other hand, he is a problematic figure for african-american historians in the sense that blind tom, you know, was owned by a white slave
master and, among other things, tom gave concerts that benefited the confederate cause, right? so he's a problematic figure in that respect. so -- >> is it true that they didn't let tom know that slavery was over? [laughter] or did somebody make that up? >> yeah, they probably did. you know, i think those are kind of interesting questions just about, you know, to what degree was he aware of his situation, to what degree, you know, did he willingly participate in this or maybe, you know, to what degree did he, you know, did he lack options? >> is it true he had memorized is it hundreds or thousands of songs? >> yeah. they claimed he -- you know, the story is he had a musical memory of, like, 5,000 compositions which was, you know, in the range of a mozart or somebody of the time. >> it's not true he could
accurately play the by piano wih the pack of his -- back of his hand, was it? >> there's a guy who did a recording of some of blind tom's compositions, and baraka wrote the results for that. yeah, i mean, he did all kinds of things. he could play three songs at once, you know, in different keys. you know, he was like a 19th century jimi hendrix or somebody. so it was just really -- that was one of the things that drew me to his story. but, you know, the other thing i would say, too, like in trying to figure out how to tell the story, i began to think about other, larger question of the story of slavery in america. and one of the really, one of the linchpins of my novel becomes the draft riots in new york city in 1863 which, you know, as far as i know is still the worst example of race riots
in america, but very few of us know anything about it, you know? so that becomes sort of the central piece of the back story in the novel whereas other things happen, you know, around that. so, you know, so part of the, part of my i project in the novel among other things was to bring tom's story, you know, to put tom's story back on the front page, so to speak, but also to, you know, to point to aspects of slavery such as the draft riots that we don't necessarily remember anymore. >> is there a counter master narrative you're taking aim at as you write your narrative? >> i think the very specifics of tom's life, i'm taking aim at this notion that he was simply, you know -- well, you know, that he was simply brainwashed. like one of the articles i read something like, you know, the
author said, you know, tom was fortunate because his blindness and his idiocy didn't let him know, didn't let him know that he was both black and a slave, something like that, you know? very condescending terms. so i began to think, you know, maybe there's another way of thinking about his story, you know? and so maybe within the parameters of his life he was resisting his situation in the only way that he could. one of the surprising things about him was that at a certain point, you know, his career ended because he simply refused to go on stage and play, you know? and, you know, so that says a lot to me. and there's kind of the silence around his life. but like certain things he did seem to speak volumes about who he might have been, you know in it's all speculation on my part. >> what did you think of cd, the
music? >> in all honesty, the music was a little disappointing. no, i mean, i think, i think because we don't have any -- >> i guess those are his own compositions. >> those are -- so he had, i think he penned like 500 compositions, but what we don't really have, you know, we don't have any recordings of what his performances were like. so from the descriptions of his performances, you know, certainly his performances went beyond, well beyond what the sheet music is. so i think that's something that's lacking. but there's no way we can really know what that is because we don't have any, you know, recordings of that. so in that sense, if you listen to the recordings, i think, and actually the first person who did recordings of his music was a woman who was a musicologist who devoted her life to studying tom, you know? she did a biography of his life
over a period of about 20 years, you know? she taught at the university of minnesota, and she had -- i found a -- i went to the library there and found a recording that she had done of a number of his compositions, and that's the first recording that i know of. you know, it was never released commercially. and then this guy, john davis, in brooklyn did this other recording. one of the things i tried to do was listen to the recordings until i had sort of a sense of tom's music in hi own mind. so -- in my own mind. so for that reason when i listened to the recordings, i had, you know, completely refigured what i thought the music would sound like. i had an image of what i was expecting to hear, and i didn't hear that. but, again, i think that's only because, you know, we don't know what they actually sounded like when he played them, you know? >> yeah. the tragic thing about that period is the way racists had framed black people -- >> yeah. >> i think lee baker wrote the
book "from savage to negro" that he was going to be interpreted in terms of biology -- >> right. >> -- rather than his musical genius. >> well, yeah, i think what's kind of interesting too is that, you know, tom died in 1908 in june if my memory serves me. and then, of course, jack johnston won the black heavy weight title in boxing in december of that year. so it was kind of, you know, these interesting bookmarks. and so even as johnston appears on the scene, there's still all this mythology about how black men are cowardly and black people are stupid and all this other stuff. so anyway, you know, that's, you know, that whole idea of the black person as a savage, you know, extended for a long time, of course. >> yeah. and khalil muhammad's book frames it "the condemnation of blackness," that's a rough period you're dealing with
there. >> what are you thoughts, ileana? >> well, i guess taking a message from something we've written? my first novel, my debut novel is -- can everybody hear me fine? [inaudible conversations] better? okay. so my first novel's called "the 12 tribes of adty," and it is about the title character who's named hattie shepherd. she's a young woman who leaves georgia in the very early part of the 20th century, and she settles in philadelphia. she gets married, and she has 11 children over the course of the next couple of decades, next three decades or so. and she's, her life is sort of -- the book spans, essentially, her lifetime, basically. so we first meet her as a very young woman of 17 in 1925, and the bookends in 1980 when she's 71.
so it spans sort of the greater part of the 20th century. and, obviously, very important to the book just given the dates in which it takes place is the great migration. i don't ever consider it to be a book about the great migration, but certainly the great migration is an incredibly important backdrop to the lives of these people, and it informs hattie and her children's circumstances incredibly. hattie and her husband were, as i said, born in georgia, but her children are all born in philadelphia, so they're sort of a first generation great migration family. and, but as i said also, you know, it wasn't my interest in writing the book to write any kind of a sort of definitive great migration story. my interest was to write down into the specifics of this family and their lives and their characters and their circumstances and sort of who they are and how they are which,
i think, is, i think that certainly is a privilege as a black writer sort of coming at this point in the sort of evolution of black arts in the united states, coming at this point i sort of have the other particular luxury of not having to explain or even necessarily focus on the blackness of my characters. these are, of course, black characters. and that, of course, informs them in every way. but i am liberated by the writers that came before me from having to write a book that is explicitly about race and the way that it may have been necessary to do that in the 1960s or '50s or '40s or, you know, the things that other people would have had to do. i mean, i could go on and on. so i suppose my vision of the family and my vision of how to describe to them is, i've said
about this book before that it is a book that takes place, essentially, sort of in a pre-civil rights time span but is written with a very post-civil rights kind of a sensibility, if that makes any sense. >> now, did you have to deal with the this, in the lives of this theme about slavery, ray is schism and colonialism trying to to literate the -- obliterate the lives of these people and their reconstruction, trying to put their lives back together, did you have to deal with that? >> i wouldn't say explicit city. i mean, certainly, you know, if you're going to write stories about kind of unremarkable black people, and what i mean by unremarkable is not that they are actually unremarkable, but that their lives in the larger scheme of things would be seen as being unremarkable. you know, they're just kind of regular folks, you know, trying to get by. and certainly in the scheme of
things, you know, black families who are just regular folks trying to get by were unremarked. i mean, that's certainly the case. so very clearly the book, for he, was sort of in how -- homago the people described in it and sort of my own family and the generations that preceded mine. but i think that what i wanted to -- i wasn't interested in explicitly writing against a kind of -- how can i say this? i wasn't explicitly trying to write against an obliteration so much as i think that my book takes as a given these people's humanity and their importance. i think that, i think that at this point sort of in thinking about black literature as a whole as it moves forward, i mean, that's even a difficult category, i think, just because
it is incredibly broad, you know? but i think that at this point there is the possibility of my not having to write against something. i can write, i have a certain freedom to sort of write my characters in their fullness because in a certain kind of way it seems to me that forming a narrative against another narrative is a kind of capitulation to the first narrative. so i was sort of explicitly uninterested in doing that, if that makes any sense. >> well, in some ways you are writing against another narrative because there's a writer of the holocaust that said that the holocaust and slave trade turned real people into numbers and statistics. and by writing about real people, you're writing, you're restoring them as real people as opposed to being a number or a statistic. >> certainly.
>> right? >> certainly to some extent. but if i write with that foremost in my mind, then i'm writing something differently than what i wrote, which is to say that if i'm writing against, if i am consciously in every sentence and in every paragraph writing against that narrative, then i'm not writing a book that is free that narrative. >> i gotcha. what are your thoughts on this? >> well, you talk about the master narrative, and i tend to agree with ayana that you don't tend to sit down and write a book with, okay, i'm going to oppose whatever the narrative that has been imposed upon us. but with that said, obviously, that's sort of the water in which we swim. my novel, my most recent novel is called "freeman," and when i do writers, when i do book signings and things of that nature, one of the things i always tell people is that we as a nation have done a god awful
job of teaching and passing down our history in general and our african-american history if particular. and one -- in particular. and one of the things that we miss in that is that we have evolved a narrative of the african-american experience which goes sort of as follows: there was slavery, and that was really bad, and then abraham lincoln came along and freed the slaves -- [laughter] and then black folks kind of disappeared until 1955 when rosa parks -- [laughter] when rosa parks said, no, thank you, i'm going to keep my seat, call the police. >> independently. >> yeah. but there's a whole lot of stuff that goes on in there, and one of the things i wanted to do with freeman was to capture some of this stuff. you see it sometimes in the movies about slavery or some of the older depibses of slavery where somebody says y'all's free now, and it's party time. and that was not actually what
happened. freedom was a very, you know, imagine that you've been owned for your entire life, you know? you're 30 years old, you're 45, you're 50 years old, and someone has owned you your entire life, and you've not gone anywhere without that person's permission, you've not done -- virtually not thought without that person's permission. suddenly someone says, you're free. for some that's a liberating thing and a wonderful thing, for some that's a frightening thing. for most of the slaves there was this thing that they had to sit together and sort of study on it, to use their language, and define what it meant to be free. so my novel is about a man who dines, you know -- who defines, you know, what this period means for him. he's been free for a while, he's a former slave in philadelphia. but when the word comes that the war is over, the civil war is over, he realizes that he is
compelled to walk down to mississippi from philadelphia, to walk about a thousand miles to get down to the river to find a woman that he was married to that he loved and that he lost and that he has never stopped thinking of in 15 years since he's seen her. and, you know, to me that's one of the great untold stories of our narrative as african-american people which is that after the war was over and after we were declared as free, whatever that meant, one of the things that we did -- there were many ways by which we declared that we were people and that we were free, but one of the most poignant to me is that we went to go and reconstruct our families. we went to -- people wrote, illiterate people, which most of the former slaves were, had someone write letters for them, or they placed ads in the black newspapers that were springing up at that time. but perhaps most eloquently, you
know, they walked. they walked across states, they walked across mountains and meadows, they walked across fields and farms trying to find people that they had not seen in five, ten, fifteen, twenty years, maybe had a daughter, a baby that was taken from your breast literally as an infant, maybe you had a mom that was sold from you that you haven't seen, or maybe, as in the case of my character, you had a woman that you loved and that you considered your wife and that you haven't seen her in 15 years, and you take off and go with walking. go walking. that's sort of the, i guess, the narrative of my book. and the counter to the narrative that exists. you know, we, i think, tend to downplay the importance in our history and even now of african-american love even though if you look at, if you know anything about the history, that's what got us through, you know? that's why we're here with, you know, to whatever degree that we're still here and still functioning, that was a great part of it.
and so what i wanted to do was write a book that sort of paid homage to that aspect of our story, that aspect of our story that has sort of been lost. to me, you know, we talk about the great poets, the great love poet, but to me one of the great, unsung love poets of all time was written by some slave man walking from north carolina to georgia whose name nobody ever got, but he walked, you know, he's walking 600 miles, 700 miles on the hope, not the certainty, you know, on the hope of seeing those babies and that woman again. i mean, that's just a very powerful story. >> you know -- [applause] one of my caribbean friends asked me one time, why are you negroes already singing so many love songs? i'd never thought that much about it, you know, coming up in culture we come up in, i took that for granted. i thought angela davis answered
that well, after emancipation and the citizenship that all black people really had was the choice of who were they going to love. >> it's interesting -- >> that's a profound -- >> it is interesting that you say that. let me preface, i was a music critic for a lot of years, and i grew up listening to music. i stopped really paying attention to popular music in the 1990s, so i keep hearing from young people and i keep reading that there are not really a lot of black love songs on the radio anymore. and i say this can't be true. so i asked my daughter, and i asked other young people, and they all, no, no, that's true. we have i would love to make love to you songs, you know? [laughter] but we don't have, we don't have betcha, by golly, wow, we don't have unforgettable, we don't have you are the sunshine of my life, we we don't have i've got sunshine on a cloudy day. that's one of the things that's interesting to me that you mention that, because that's one of the things that i was, you
know, sort of dealing with in this book. obviously, in writing an historical novel, you can't flash forward to, you know, a lyric from "my girl" or whatever -- [laughter] but that was sort of in the back of my mind that, you know, our love was of such a power and of such staying power that it saw us through slavery, and it saw us through freedom, and it saw us through the lynch mob era. and i don't know how or why in this era, you know, we would abandon that. >> let me ask you if you'll divulge the secrets to me here. >> uh-oh (were you listening to that kind of music when you're writing the book in. >> depends on the mood. i have a pretty wide, wide, you know, sometimes if the book requires concentration, i'm listening to nothing. sometimes if i'm sort of sailing along, i'm listening to anything from stevie wonder to bruce springsteen to who knows. yeah, there was probably some love songs in there. i'm sure there were. >> anybody else want to share
what kind of music they're listening to when they're writing? >> you can listen to blind tom. [laughter] i mean, i think -- i don't think i listen to music when i write. i would say i listen to music to sort of think, you know? if that makes any sense. but writing, for me, is largely silence and concentration. >> yeah. i tend to listen to music before i write, like right before i write. and then, and i try and write with music, but it usually doesn't work, and i find myself latching on to lyrics, and i get distracted. i have to turn it off. but while i was -- it really as a sort of, as leonard was just saying, it really depended on mood and what chapter i was writing or what i needed. so i might listen to donald byrd because i needed to, you know, sort of feel that way, or i might listen to, i might listen to hip-hop because i needed to feel that way. it really would sort of depend
on what was required to fill the well that day. i wanted to make a comment, i thought it was really interesting what you were talking about, you know, this question of sort of love in contemporary black music and in contemporary music in general, you know? we're sort of in a, we seem to have entered into a sort of largely loveless period in which, i mean, certainly there's sort of representation of the black, like popular representation of black couples kind of reaching the mainstream anyway, sort of began and ended with the cosby show, you know, which i think sadly. and then following that, you know, there was a period in sort of the golden age of hip-hop, i think, in the mid '90s when people were sometimes rapping about love and talking about that. >> right. >> and then sort of in the very late '90s, early 2000s with
the sort of like the rise of puffy and things like that which is the very particular rise of a kind of like, you know, big car, super glamour slickness, the conversations about love started to slip out of the music and turn, and the conversation as it turned more towards like big cars and -- i mean, i can remember sort of specific videos of, you know, like, i don't know, speedboats, you know, speeding off from miami, you know? [laughter] hos in by -- bikinis, the whole thing. and as that became more and more of the their tv of the music, the discussion which was all about a very particular material acquisition, the discussion also about love began to slip out of the music. and the music, because it was becoming about material acquisition, also became about sexual acquisition. >> right. >> so all of the misrepresentations you saw of women and men together were purely sexual and became more
and more devoid of emotion, and that seems to me to be the case a little bit still. not always, but a little bit still. >> okay. well, here's the question i'm going to ask you since i've been left in charge here. [laughter] we've been abandoned. >> [inaudible] >> age has its necessities. >> i like that. the leap that i'm not sure i'm correct in making and that i'm to always scared to make because then i'm just showing i've gotten old, and i'm railing about kids these days and get off my lawn, etc., etc., but the thing that i wonder is does this lovelessness in music and in culture, does it reflect the same thing in actual life? and that's what i, you know, struggle with. >> uh-huh. >> you know, and i will, i will add to that, you know, when i was writing freeman, one of the things that, you know, i sort of
really became enamored, i became just really impressed with this idea that, you know, we as a people would walk 500 miles, a thousand miles on the hope of being with somebody. and by daughter was with this boy that -- [laughter] >> which you seem to really like. >> that she was crazy about, and, oh, we in love, and, you know, i love him and, etc., etc., and this became the question and sort of our litmus test for love now, would you walk a thousand miles for him, you know? and when i define love that way, the people that walk a thousand -- the people that i love to that degree probably less than, you know, ten in life, and most of 'em have my same last name. [laughter] so the question that i'm asking is, you know, have -- is that thousand mile love still present, you know? among us? >> well, i think i don't know if it's present or not, but i think
there's certainly a hunger for it. you know, i mean, there are all these black romantic comedies, you know -- >> yeah. >> that are so popular, so there's something there, you know? >> yeah. >> i mean, i wonder -- like in this novel, this 12 terms of hattie, i mean, there's a couple at the center of it. i mean, hattie is certainly, she's a really larger than life figure, and she stays married her whole life. her husband falls down on the job in many ways and rises up to job in others, but they are, you know, they are a couple, and they stay together. by the time you sort of get to the end of the novel, they've been married for 50 years or more, something. but i think that their love is really, i think it's really complicated. i think it's really complicated, and they sort of sometimes hate each other, and they kind of grow estranged and all this kind of stuff. all that said to say that i think that, i think that
speaking about black people in particular and then about the larger culture in general, right, because we're inside the larger culture so, obviously, we're being influenced not just by issues of things like a master narrative or not a master narrative, but simply the air that we breathe. you turn on the television, all this kind of stuff, you know? we all have the internet, whatever. and i think, i think what's happening is that certainly in black commitments in particular -- communities in particular, you know, there is a kind of siege especially when we, you know, we've all read or probably heard of, you know, the new jim crow. so that's a whole situation there. it's kind of like who, you know, talking about meter prosexual couple-- heterosexual couples, or who's around to love because lots of people are being removed from the scene, you know? but then others in another way too i think that they were being urged either toward -- we are
being urged sort of more and more toward acquisition and material acquisition which seems to me to be in direct conflict with love. love isn't acquisition. an acquisitional spirit, generally speaking, is not a loving spirit. those are two very different kinds of things. and then i think also what's happening is that is it what we're being presented with as a sort of model of what love should look like as something as being sort of simplified and uncomplicated to the point of being undying anified. sort of what we see in movies as representations of love is nothing like what love is. love is hard and complicated and all these kinds of other things. but it's, generally speaking, not sort of what we see reflected back to us. very particularly i think often in black film very particular. i mean, i don't mean to, sort of don't want to open a can of worms, but, you know, buffoonery isn't love, you know? so there's that, you know? and then in the larger culture we see a kind of, you know, we
all sort of get -- there's this rom-com thing. i love that as much as the next person, but at least i can differentiate between that and what love actually might mean or might look like or whatever its difficulties might be. >> there's probably a reason every rom-com is about love beginning. >> yeah, exactly. [laughter] >> 20-somethings falling in love, not about 50-somethings trying to stay in love. laugh. [laughter] >> you know, when i was at the university of penn, the issue of love and, i think, self-worth is one of the issues there. and i'm thinking about the narratives of the great migration and the emancipation and the music. i heard two students talking, and the brother said -- this is going to be like a 1980s conversation. when i graduate, i'm going to be worth $60,000. and the sister on the stairway said, well, when i graduate i'll
be worth $80,000. so i thought to myself, now, here's a people who were auctioned in slavery at one point, right? and you're getting an ivy league degree, and the education that you purchased has taught you to measure yourself in terms of not only how cheap -- and so i think the love song comes out of a whole different sense of what you're worth and how do you measure that, right? and not in terms of balance, but in terms of the miles, the sacrifice, the music, the genius, you know? all that stuff like that. so it's a big value change. now, when i had to begin writing on the black arts movement, what scared me -- i was looking up, you know, the black arts theater, you know, repertory theater school in harlem, 1965. the only place i could find the address for that was in a police
record. [laughter] it's in "the new york times," the police raided the theater. so that was the first time i found the actual address. and i went to the building in harlem, and i said, you know, so this whole history was criminalized when i came on the scene, right? so i -- and then this is the debate among us historians. i don't know whether it's a novel we're talking about. we're talking about the new i jim crow criminalization, right? much of the history is framed as we're a perpetrator, we're a criminal. >> right. >> so i decided not to look at even though i know they existed, all the police reports, the cointel pro documents and things like that and to actually interview the people and find out what their lives were about, what motivated them to create these artistic movements and things like that. and later i came back to look at the police reports as the menace to what they aspire to, right?
but sad to say many historians, because there's so much paper there, want to start with the criminal record and don't realize that's framing the story. right? and so baraka was being villainized a few decades ago, and they went so far as to say he wasn't an artist. so i said wait a minute, you know? you can talk bad about my mother and stuff like that, i expect you to do that -- [laughter] you're going to get to the point where you're going to say we're not artists, you know? so i started giving these conferences, what, blews people 40 years later -- blues people 40 years later. and it turned out nobody no one had sat down and talked about that that book had helped create jazz universities. so i thought it was very important to reframe the narrative, right? and to look away from all the accusations that, you know, what did robert keller said your mom
is dysfunctional, to look away from that and talk to mother, right? as a matter of fact, i have to say that when my mother passed away, my father -- i was trying to figure out why every time i went to visit my mother, my mother was coaching the nba basketball teams every sunday. and she was -- and i said, well, mom, you know, you're not on the floor, right? turns out my mother was a basketball player. [laughter] my father told me later she was a basketball player. you know, i didn't even understand that piece of my mother, you know in and it's a sad thing that for most of us -- and i've been going through a lot of memorials lately -- most people's history is not written until they die. >> amen. >> it's in that little to bitch ware there. obituary there. so when i ran these children's express programs with these kids, i tried to get them to interview their grandmothers and their grandfathers, to get that story while they were still alive. even if you don't understand it, to have that material later to
find out who in the hell you are as opposed to, you know, a pimp, a criminal, all the other things they going to put on you. but if you don't get that story about where you came from and why did they sacrifice all that for you, then you kind of think maybe i'm woft two cents or 50 cents. >> or even 60,000. >> or even 50,000. >> instead of realizing you're priceless. >> exactly. >> right? but i think that the lack, going back to the music though, i mean, smokey robinson, that poet from detroit there, right? he taught me, he introduced me to psychology, i got two lovers, and -- [laughter] i mean, i didn't know what psychology -- >> he's a clown now. >> all of that really, as baraka used to say, art teachers are everything. so that was my introduction to psychology and stuff like that. so by not having that, those songs that way, there's so much people are losing that is kind
of scary, and it helps you articulate those feelings, right? just like the musicians are doing that that. that too. so there is a lot of ross there. but i -- loss there. but i do understand the hip-hop generation and the generation thereafter, their genius is that they had to create if you think about places like the bronx where they'd bomb the whole community out and they're villainizing these kids, when i -- i was organizing black workers in factories until the 1980s, and i got out of the scene on '84, and i was stunned when i started looking at television and seen how they were villainizing children on the media, and i thought we needed to give kids a voice, right, so they could talk about their generation and what they were going through as opposed to how they were being framed on television and radio. and i think this prison industrial complex is just a further iteration of that monster that we saw being created there.
their lives in many ways have been, it's a very different challenge than what we went through. and it's not the same, but i think to say it's less of a college is a poor assessment of it. so anyway with, i think framing that narrative is, that counternarrative is important. i mean, for me the culture of poverty, that was a pig narrative -- big narrative. i think almost any tutoring program we went to in the 1960s and '70s, the first thing they told you is that you were from a dysfunctional family and on and on. but, you know, it's this whole that you came from a culture of poverty which i didn't understand. i never, i couldn't believe that myself based on my family. i mean, i got so many relatives, it's hard to count 'em, much less to say you ain't got no family. so i think for people to take some assessment of tear own lives and -- their own lives and to begin to learn a language to
talk about that early on is pretty, pretty important. >> amen. >> you think we should open this up to the -- is that okay? >> yes. >> yes. >> there any questions or answers from the floor? >> good to see you. i think we talked it was 125th street? >> oh, i'm going to forget. i put it in my book. [laughter] >> as someone who came of age in the time when the race narrative, if you will, was necessary to the times, i often find myself as i look at the discussions of the problem today, the similarities to our discussions then just parenthetically. ..
the opportunity to do some really positive steps, but keep your generation the opportunity to buy into the wares of the capitalist values agreed. and lose a sense of love in the process. but the question i want to ask all of you, as i look at the kind of writing that we saw in poetry, and novels, in the 60s and 70s as the work people approach has, of fighting the very real problem and look at the same statement today at the problem being that seems to admit. i ask -- i wanted to thank you, brother. i'm going to go out and buy your book right now because joe turner is my favorite and it is my favorite in part because it deals with that thousand miles.
it deals with all the complexities of trying to reconstruct coming out of the end of his placement. and i think that's a tremendous important. to look at. it's also to look at another area we don't look at. reconstruction ended in 1877. the distance between 1877 in the 2004 -- 1904 -- the loose sense of centuries. 19 up for me at the niagara movement that gave her to the naacp to fight the jim crow when chief environment is 30 years. the distance between the election of the last reconstruction elected congressperson in the same event last in 1898, five years before the naacp. so the fact reluctant mess, what
were referred to yesterday's post-racial is urea era, the question has, what are we as writers going to do to begin to mobilize and make away or degeneration today is going to have to -- fight to make sure that needs enough for us and become 2024. and that speaks very much the issue of the master narrative in a very different way. i hope the question is clear. >> you want to start us off? >> i will answer that in a different way, which is bad, you know, as a young writer and a writer and today, i've had great relationships with older writers who have learned from reading
their books, but also interaction. so for example tid and there in the back, i read jimi hendrix biography when i was 17 years old. it blew my mind when i got to know him. i've had many conversations with him. john echo white man, i can go on and on. these have been my father's chimney. there's always a passing down of some name to remains that don't necessarily have been on the pages so. i think in some ways as a teacher and ratings defense, that's how some of the work gets done.
>> it's such a complicated question and complicated thing to think about. i think one of the things you've earlier mentioned. we suffer in general and american predicament i'm in a history city. we kind of exist outside of historic continuum in at the same time what we do there's a history, the stuff that happens in a box. this person, calcified thing doesn't have an effect on what is going on now. you can go and look at it and have all these reactions which has nothing to do whatever this stuff called history is.
i think about this a lot because i'm not sure what the answer is. i don't know. it does seem to be something about -- this is in a word, but i use it. the china magazine of the current in a way that we understand history is ongoing, that history is that some thing we kind of go back and look at concert of learned from why not learn from a cup or lion cage tonight through. the past isn't that it isn't even past, which of course when i think about my very new career as a novelist named to me often what i'm trying to do is to somehow breathe life into what we kind of consider to be historical and to make it
actionable and dynamic and some out of accessing it. the lessons of history are not useful if they are calcified in the inaccessible. somehow if they are sorted by nicer gals to send them that it's alive and that can be approached and interacted with, something is being transmitted in his earmark that is significant. >> what she said.
-- this has never happened before and if you understand your history come you understand it's a third or fourth attack in go you need to take a look at the first two or three times it happened. we have entered into by like all socio- adx e. as african-americans, we have sort of not taking custody of our story. my generation has not taken responsibility for passing it down at best to reach a state where somebody like going back can posit himself as the new martin luther king junior.
we reach a state were according to statistics majority of americans believe the civil war had nothing to do with slavery and my readers constantly -- one reader told me rush limbaugh had given his seat to rosa parks because he was a gentleman. >> that's true. and people say this with a straight face and do not understand why you are appalled. one of the things we as writers can do is to see these stories and tell these stories. he don't have to be take that to combat a pair but again, this is the water in which recent and. we can save these stories and tell these stories. i think we tend to undervalue what a story is. a story is how we explain us to ask them how they explain us to anybody else who happens to be
interested. if we can say these things in our story is, not just our generation, but future generations and great service. >> in a contextualize. the new jim crow, which even aside from what it does and what it talks about, but what it does is takes the phenomenon in the sort of horror of mass incarceration and doesn't isolate it from history. it puts us right in the center and that is the galvanizing an kanamycin of history. it's sort of gives it the context so you can understand it. it's like looking at a jewel in all of its facets all the way around. >> if you have to make your head explode someday, i know that's not the most attractive, on, but read the new jim crow and then go back and read douglas blackmon spoke, slavery by another name. read those two books together a
deal direct from it. that's awesome. >> i.t. should not in high school in yonkers and its amazing to see the african-american like the united nations, those students identified with the black hair terse and the stories i'm talking about the importance of fighting for democracy. they are getting it if they get their hands on it. he mentioned august wilson. it seems to me what a number of other artists are talking about is the community that's been catastrophically lost. the community i go up with was wiped out when i went away to college. so some of this change in the love song is about a generation has grown up not in the community we grew up in, but
these communities devastated and that is part of the story -- i stopped my book even before that. a lot of people don't know, okay, what happened to that community. so we went to conference in newark, believe it or not, the historical society. the black schoolteacher and a safety anniversary of the 1967 rebellion got up there and said i am so glad i came to this conference because i didn't know there was a riot. now this is a sad situation. doesn't know. these children are growing up in the battlefield laying all over and the attorney for now the word happened. so we have a big job to do. she's an artist who did columbus
ohio. i look at the brooklyn museum, all these things from the slave trade and columbus, ohio. when i catch the end of the exhibit, i realized urban renewal had destroyed her community. some of these stories is about to remember the moment when you had that community and was lost. it's a profound pain. the kids sometimes without the sweetness of the memory. >> i have a more practical question i think just in terms of writing and dealing with our history. fortunately and unfortunately, much of what our existence no excess and mythology in a lot of ways. like things are not certain when you talk about blind time. i'm obsessed with currently this
interrogation of the stories written about nat turner. obviously the most celebrated was written by a white man can the william sieben won the pulitzer prize obviously. much of what historians are talking about is not really clear. there's all these speculations in terms of who he was, what he looks like, even going into the idea of blind time that john henry days. so while these things in terms of our own history because it exists a lot of time and mythology of horrors a number of things can be ascertained and definitively stated. a number of things can't in terms of locations and times, especially the 19th century. my question is specifically dealing with those pathologies, how do you as a writer said going to really buy into this story were really going to
address this. i'm going to insert my own story of this notion of what this could be in terms of saying i want to be true authentic to the record, which is in a lot of ways foggy to a certain degree. >> can i say something? >> you know to play dutchman? that is inspired by the corny movie that ava gardner in 1956, something like that called the flying dutchman? if you watch that movie and how cornelius, you know they say or have a more interesting to tell that story. so there's a book of the renaissance called power and imagination. it occurred to me that our story is imagination and power. they basically said rich people
basically use their power to shape the humanities and tell the artist were to draw and stuff like that. our stories from the bottom up. start with imagination, it and it might lead to power. it's going to lead to some kind of triumph. if we lose that piece but she's got the self determination to imagine own story, i think for me as an historian, i start with that. it's called a metanarrative. this person is saying he had the facts together, but the facts were skimpy. what's the narrative is strong the facts together to a story that said its dysfunction at home i going to look at that and say how do i see that story and do i have the will to reshape
those facts into a different story? every people has that unless somebody's getting ready to wipe you out. most historical records are thin and skimpy. they just are. that's what it is. everybody's ripping off a story, but some of the nerdy qaeda playbook written about how they're going to frame that. so if you look at herriot tubman and stuff like that, i've been writing about women, radical women lately and i looked at herriot tubman. i asked myself, why is it we have these bold narratives of ho chi minh as guerrilla leaders and we don't have a bold narrative at herriot tubman as a guerrilla leader. she was suing guerrilla warfare before. you know what they mean? i took a passage of ho chi minh
and i put herriot tubman's name in me to have the description to how you describe a man that was a revolutionary in that period of time and effort that they are not words. i said how come we don't use these verbs in this language would talk about a woman who's a revolutionary, but we do that when we talk about a man. i had to fight with myself about that narrative. what kind of straitjacket have we inherited to talk about women in certain ways and had to get away from that? we did that anthology, start the revolution about the carbon, all these other sisters, roast or what not not to refrain that. now you find out to buy several questions, you find out rosa parks actually loved malcolm x is a hero and not so much martin
luther king. we had to reimagine that story to ask new questions because we've been trained to think a certain way. what do you guys think? >> the specifics of my novel, one of the things that drew me from a novelist standpoint, one of the things which are made to tom's story was the fact of the spirit that all on record from his actual amount. he didn't write his own story.
>> i wonder if you ask to speak to that dealing with the mythology and how you can write your own story within things that may not be so clear. >> i'm a fiction writer so i actually don't like clarity particularly. i'm enormously disinterested in clarity. i find particularly if to match his non-that i can't write. there's no room for me to insert myself. beloved was inspired or she been doing research and came across a news clipping from i forget what year. the 19th century obviously about a woman who had escaped because of the fugitive slave law the former owners came to get her and she killed one of her children.
she said she sort of started to look for more information and stopped purposefully because she didn't want to know anything more than that because she could construct a truth that may not have been sacked, but was true around that bit of information. i don't know if you read fiction or nonfiction, but i think the operating principles and fiction at least for me if there's a huge difference between truth and fact. sometimes they overlapped. often tracks are usually true but truth doesn't have to be comprised of facts. it's important to kind of make those distinctions are not feel masseur setting out to write an absolutely historically accurate novel in every way shape and form, in which the case was the novel, the inventiveness and artfulness is not there if you were to teething.
i find fogginess in murkiness to be an aid. >> when you sit on one of these panels and someone asked a question on the other panelists are talking a new frame in your mind what you're going to say, it's really annoying when the person next to you takes your exact words. [laughter] and i'm in your exact words. this is twice now. your left ear with it's my turn now. what i was going to say was -- there is truth and there is facts. i swear on a stack she stole that from me. what i was going to say as there is truth in there is facts and they are not necessarily the same nsa novelist, what i seek is truth.
fact is lovely if you can have it in you need to scheller framework to give your work that sense of fairness, sense of reality. at some point you have to give yourself permission to set sail from not insist on truth. my next novel imagines a conversation that never happened between my main character in martin luther king. i read a lot of kinks stuff because it is his philosophy essentially on the last week of his life and his king dealing what the fact he stressed a nice death threats out and he's undersea-ish a young black militants at that time for clinging to his philosophy of nonviolence and everybody's in the street going to i read a lot of king had to say about those issues are that it is daft, i
was so scared in the writing but i looked back and i couldn't pay what he says here you to his book here in the speech here. it was very at one point i realized i've got to give myself permission. a guide to set sail from these facts and try to nail down the truth. do you get the distinction i'm making? is the best i can do a question. >> to maximize. very help full. >> to reapply him. i love historical novels, but i am a big proponent unallocated specially for the young people of creative nonfiction get together soon as you can. i wrote my book from priest of love and i wasn't even sure if i
would publish it as a book. i was thinking maybe handed out at a family reunion. my parents had a restaurant in atlantic city, new jersey. a lot of people don't know africans americans don't atlantic city. way before the casinos. my book is growing up in atlantic city. i use the business as a centerpiece to tell the story about the community. so i gave you my car, brother because it is a way for me to tell the true story, but do it in a way that reads like a novel. it took seven years of research. it was so brazen a family teaching high school and all that. i finished off last. i sold almost 1000 copies just for a man, myself and my husband.
hbo called me because unbeknownst to me, i did not know the boardwalk empire was getting ready to blow up. they called me and said we always heard there was a fantastic community of black people in atlantic city, but we don't have anything. we found you on the internet. modern technology. i ended up going to hbo documentaries talking about african-american history in atlantic city. six months later, a local theater professor caught in that i read your book. i loved it. it needs to be applied. i get emotional every time i talk about it because it's not only my family story appeared a star story appeared as our community story and i used my family story is the centerpiece. it's a story of african-americans in atlantic city. creative nonfiction is an excellent way to go. you get the history.
he got the history of neck, the tell it in a very creative way. i love historical novels, but i'm a big proponent of creative nonfiction right now because we can get her history out there and we have so many different stories to tell. thank you. [applause] >> i should say in terms of issues that the facts come as a person who does sociology at history, some of these people who've written the major theories only cannot you see are talking about how they can to original series. each one was talking about their own situation. and then they generalized about it. so what's his name? said i was looking at columbia, university and i looked at the jewish people in the catholics and protestants. so we have to really have the self-determination to say hey i reality is just as real as the
guy standing at columbia begin at his reality. that truth is just as true as anybody else is truth and go ahead and do it. and not asking permission for it. i didn't get no permission. >> hello. my name. my name is nefertiti banbury spirit and founder and editor of a start up that offers development services for fiction writers and offers instruction or at least i wish to provide instruction on the germanic character of black fiction. with regard to my question, i am wondering why we are even reconstruct a master narrative instead of defining our own master narrative. this sits well with what you just said. as a writer and in school i was pretty much forced out by the
university for pursuing -- looking for african literary aesthetic narrative in fiction, in higher education in general. yeah, maybe you chose to leave. i realized it wasn't necessary. i thought there was a lack of black design available at everything we were presented with, but i was presented with wanted to permission should be seen as worthy of an american icon that the master narrative, whatever that is. i am wondering why we are interested in reconstructing i guess the masters narrative so to speak and not defining our own, which is a universal lack of static that transcends american -- transcends
christian. it transcends all of that and he desires coming universal. i guess you have an idea how i feel about it. i am wondering what you think about that. why is that not available to us? why is that not of interest to max? why we are free to define blackness when everything can be defined and wants us to define it. >> because of the way this is going, i am going to start right here. [laughter] semi-thoughts can't be posed. i am struggling with the premise of the question, the name of the panel is reconstruct to -- >> can i clear. i met to say it because i spat out. i noticed him at the conference is reconstruct in the master narrative in the title of this panel is reconstructing historical but talked about how past and present is basically irrelevant.
it's the same thing. >> speaking for myself, i don't pledge i don't pledge of allegiance to the minister of historical narratives whatsoever except to the point if he were to put it in those terms, but what i register wasting time here, too. this is what happened to my folks. this is the world as i've seen it. i don't know if that's reconstructing the historical narrative or deconstructing historical narrative are building a whole new historical narrative. i don't think you're really thinking in those terms. we think in terms i can take these truths and tell a story that is compelling. as i said when i spoke at the very beginning, we know at the master narrative is coming to historical narrative, which is essentially invisible between 1865 in 1955 and my ideas is
what we weren't ever saw the other stuff went on before this year's comment during the series and after the series that was to be part of the official records. that's my relationship to the master historical narrative. it is fair. here i am. here's what i got. >> i think maybe leonard and i were separated at birth. [laughter] as essentially kind of did. i don't -- i doubt, an outcome i take this existence of a master narrative. we know this. so i guess when i was in the beginning of this notion i was consciously writing against it is not in any way to way i frame or think about my own work. what i think about is that i am
aware of couriers that i am writing about people and will continue to read about people that have been bulldozed by history and that is putting up really kindly. but my assumption also is their humanity is as nuanced and universal and broad as anybody else comes about is the place from which i am writing. in terms of establishing a universal black aesthetic, you and i might differ. i don't know that i think there is one. so i am not writing from that place. i'm writing from the assertion that the humanity of my black characters, but i'm not necessarily writing from it place in inserting our establishing universal black is right. >> yeah, i would just second that. i think there are a thousand stories. any writer who tells the story
is presenting a story that hasn't been told before hopefully. i don't see myself as trying to write the master narrative. i'm telling stories that interest me and i think need to be told. >> when i started writing on black power, the master narrative and history was there was wonderful civil rights movement and in this messy, angry, ugly black power thing came along and destroyed the movement by 1968. what i propose to write history of black powder at the university of pennsylvania, and the notes to the notes to municipal liberal would i be permitted to do that or not with the history. so, the first thing was first of all i knew that there were thousands of things that
happened after 1968. so i was really doing with the master narrative. but once i passed back and started dealing with all the things that happened 68, 69, how can pass the baton in the private meeting. from that point on, you reconstruct in another narrative and that's a big responsibility. depending whiskey you are dealing with, your writing. i think what i try to deal with this first of all you are dealing with the fact that in the record black people appear to be one-dimensional. so i am not satisfied with the one dimension. i try to interview the people. the people were very generous to make it from a three-dimensional stories of people. and so i think for me -- a new
master narrative would be after we write a thousand of these, but see what we've got. the first thing is we come on the scene. like you said, nothing happened during that period of time if any consequence, which means we don't matter or your grandmother does that not her. but the other thing is to try to figure out the plot sometimes. a lot of people don't realize when you write history or sociology they're so popular. what's the plot? if i look at the language someone talking bad about my mother, but my grandfather was lent, it was ironic. that's tragic as far as i was concerned. so the language i'm going to try right now.
so it would be hard to contradict solution before we finish. i go to these memorials and see -- what's her name? june at sero. she was a sister in the black panther party right here in new york. i went to her memorial. there is about 3000 people there and it was a community center she had found it. i also abetted her story before the memorial. i had to sit down and take notes about the different testimony people gave. we would mess it up. it's an epic here that's for sure because there's so many people and so much going on. it's part of the plot. but i think we cut short the
genius of it by trying to define it in the beginning that insane how rich it is, how multidimensional it is. what i fear somebody used one of my books to stop another writer who is writing about chicago. the publishers said jacoby williams, the beautiful brother who wrote this book is not using the theo harris framework. i said bring a minute, you're not going to misuse what i wrote. chicago is another story. we want to hear all the stories. are some great stories. people did some fantastic things. the new generation will benefit. it is just one story, that will not solve the thousand problems we have. lincoln said at one time. he said the deviousness of the slave system that locks the
black man in the cage and the key is 1000 keys. and each person was sent off in a different direction with that key and the only way you could open the doors if you put all this all this keys together and turn them simultaneously. so as far as i'm concerned, we are still gathering those keys. so for some editor to come along and say he's not using the water key, i want to know what happened to detroit, chicago, that littletown yawl firm and stuff like that. those are important stories because that's what we are. i'm kind of afraid, but i will confess i am writing against a male dominant master narrative and that's what were doing in startup revolution. we thought by putting women at the center of the story and work enough and they would get a
better picture of what the black revolt was about. but i seem to announce a new master narrative at this point, before we hear of those millions of voices to be a little premature. >> defining -- taking the steps to begin to define it. i agree with a lot of what you're saying. the experience you are presenting, i can connect with that. i'm talking more so about the beginning of discipline. not that we know that we have a voice, how do we begin discipline quakes you think it's too soon for the discipline because we are using somebody's value to tools. the reason someone's imagination and i'm very interested in imagery and outcomes. >> you know, many arauca has been celebrated for many things.
one thing we've neglected him as an added. if you look at how thick each volume he did come in when he did the african conquests he had every voice. black fire he tried to put every voice and manner. i thought that kind of editing was interesting. that insane okay we've got this one theme to make out what i have a lot of groceries and stuff like that. that's an important way to do with it to get your arms around this big thing we are dealing with. if we start out with the fact it's epic, then they won't have this narrow thing in all these other plots don't fit into it. i don't mean epic in the old mechanical sense of it. i'm not famous. but just buried. sorry about that. >> my name is andy nelson and i am just so full of being here and be with all of you. it's just a blessing.
i can remember times when it was not possible for us to get together. i can remember the times when maker others was slain and praying that others would be found alive, the three civil rights workers, so to be here see everybody here able to speak and to think and to express when we have in many ways been portrayed as you have said in such a skimpy way. but the information -- our information of who we are is en masse. it has been passed onto us whether we write it in books, whether we are saying it in song, the information is in the group and we are alive that we
are beautiful and they are courageously and we are strong. this may be the worst of times, but it's also the best of times. i just want to thank you all for all that you do, especially for the days you maybe don't feel like getting up out of bed to do it. it raises all of us. it keeps us going. it supports us. it nourishes size. it gives fast direction. it helps us remember who we are. you're taking words out of my mouth now because i cannot hear coming in now, just thinking about the writing process, to think about editing and for those of us trying to put things together and i was professor allen's student of frederick
douglass creative centers a thousand years ago i finally finished. what about the editing process? how important is that? what do we look for in an editor because we need that support. is there a community that we can look to that can help us really tell our stories in a way that will continue uplifting not only for us, but for this whole world because we, who we are so important. >> because of the shortness of time i want to get your question and the other question in now so they can get the final reading. am i right we are running out of time? we have one of our master teachers. [applause] i was brother, what's your name at the classes?
i saw you on television and i believe you raised the whole question of the use and then saying that the boys don't sing anymore love songs. that coming from you? >> yeah, that was him. it's wonderful what we're doing and were weaving this narrative, but we've got to look at it because these are the folks that come after us. they don't see anything worth seeing with love to black women and vice versa. we're in serious trouble. and i said when i found out you were a sheer, i said i was going to request you further about this and what can be done to restore the love songs. what can we do?
we ate dinner be here forever. in they don't even see enough beauty in one another to love and uphold, then we are on our way out. that's the only thing i was going to say. i appreciate the lords and ladies of the narratives. i'll just end i saying one thing. and now, black hole, once they got off the auction blocks and onto the plantation, what they had to do with master english. once they master english, they could invent why people called abolitionists. thank you. [applause] >> i think we've run out of time. >> all great. to be continued. >> my job is i didn't tell you
who i was. i am court to tell you i am from the sister college, your college in queens, jamaica, queens. they are in education, but this has been such a phenomenal session. dynamic, engaging. they're talking about how we explain us to us the social historical idiocy of our place and time, how multidimensional we are in it in the record black people appear to be one-dimensional. where are love songs? truth and facts not necessarily the same. this is scratching the surface of what we've been doing today in the fact that we talk about -- you got ideas. he said what i was thinking. you're supposed to beat them up because he was thinking the same thoughts. we have such little time, but i am a teacher ed and i.'s students. this big, good-looking,
basketball playing, brilliant young man's who didn't know he could also be a scientist talking about how his teacher who is a good teacher told him you can't do too much with these young black people because they are such a bad situation at school, at home. that got drug addicts and i live in poverty and their parents are together. i looked at this young man inside are your parents together? i said what about, are you living in the middle-class range? no. i said in your community have people buy drugs? i said i think they're talking about your mama. so you stole my idea. you know what, we just love each other when you teacher we really are and we show them and read about i'm inviting you, please
buy these people. we can to supply these brilliant master writers. we have to purchase their books. we have to read of them. there are books that are going to autograph them for us. someone is saying he's writing about, so you have to come get the boat. do you have a book with you? that's the next book. they got your novel. buy this book. put down payment on the next book. i've got you. i've got you. we have in the back, there's rake. a 25 minute rate. take the time to go through and look at the books, get some autographs. they also have dvd recordings like $10 each of all the different sessions, including the one now. i'm going to buy one tody